Crushing the Plateau…pushing new limits safely

Posted: July 10, 2013 in Healthy Eating
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The word “plateau” strikes fear into the hearts of members of the fitness community. When we plateau, we have hit a point where gains are either coming slowly, or have ceased to occur at all. It can weigh heavily on us both physically and mentally. There is a barrier between us and the short (or long) term goals that we hope to reach.  I hope to offer tips on working through these daunting periods of time. I’ve been there and it can be difficult.

Take a few days off. It’s not uncommon for someone who is extremely devoted to exercise to be in an “overtrained” state. The body is worn down and the central nervous system can actually become sluggish because of the considerable amount of repeated similar movements. It’s quite impressive what a bit of rest can do for someone.

Add in a bit more cardio. If you are doing heavy lifting as your primary modality of exercise, this can take its toll. I’ve done cycles of very heavy weight lifting, and sometimes I found that the answer was simple. I was fatiguing late in my workouts, thus affecting the outcome of each lift. I added some cardio in place of the final set of these lifts and I felt as if the rut began to dissipate. My body was able to maintain a steadier heart rate throughout the exercise, and it was easier.

Try some kettle bells. Kettle bells are very useful items in the world of both strength and endurance training. Adding a kettle bell swing and/or snatch to your workouts can help open your hips and, increase your grip strength. I also like figure eights, as they strengthen many stabilizer muscles that can help you reach your peak. These have been a savior for me over the years.

Change your diet. Sometimes, our exercise commitment outweighs our will power when it comes to eating. The food you eat is the fuel for your body, and it can truly set the tone for the level of success that you attain when working out. Eating cleaner will definitely reap many positive benefits. For more advice on nutrition, check out the “healthy eating” section of my blog.

I’d like to wrap things up by reminding you that this is a journey without a defined destination. Fitness is a process that we develop over our lifetimes, and we must stay with that process at all times. Work through your plateaus and you will take even more pride in what you have been able to accomplish!


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